Authors Behaving Badly, Episode #4: Rosina Lippi/Sara Donati
Someone needs some attention. Let’s, as Sybil would say, give her some. You see, Rosina Lippi, in an attempt to keep things on the downlow, posts on her blog an explanation of an online kerfluffle that happened at the Gabaldon yahoo group. Thanks to my reader tip, I moseyed over to see what the drama was about that Ms. Lippi was trying to keep from blowing all out of proportion.
There’s another (yet again) clash in one very small, limited corner of the internet, but as it happens to be the corner I inhabit, and as I would prefer this not blow out of all proportion, I am going public right here and now.
Lippi tries to be careful not to reveal the parties involved by using their initials. Very sneaky, I will never figure out who those people are. Someone at the DG group didn’t like Lippi’s latest book. A fan of Diana Gabaldon posted her opinions that Sara Donati was a DG wannabe who “tapped into a HUGE fan-base by dangling ‘an appearance of Jamie and Claire’ into her story.” The DG fan was specific in her complaints and cited passages and characters that she felt were copied from other authors.
The ‘insignificant’ *background characters* are all names taken from other works of literature (ie. a happy friend, Jane Bingsley in England *cough* ‘Pride and Prejudice’…a Mr. MCTAVISH in Montreal…HELLO!! Remember JAMIE MACTAVISH?!?! The original/accidental name of Jamie Fraser!!). . . .
If you LOVE LOVE LOVE the movie ‘The Last of the Mohicans’….you might be able to stomach it. Nathaniel is none other than the son (and physical carbon copy) of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character from the movie. Elizabeth bears an EERY resemblance to her mother-in-law Cora….Chingachgook is the same..only a little older…naturally. Duncan has been reincarnated and is currently inhabitting the body of Richard Todd.
The reader also stated that
I think Sara Donati DOES have a talent for putting words together and painting a decent enough picture, so as to place me into the scene,…..but she CERTAINLY lacks creativity with regards to situations and characters.
A reader’s comment about a book on a message board is termed a review and up for criticism by Lippi. Lippi finds the “review” to not be “professional, balanced or respectful.”
The most interesting thing I found in the whole deal is that Lippi states for public consumption on her blog about how it is fine for the poster to have her own opinion (while calling her unprofessional, etc). but on her public forum states the following:
And yes, there are a couple of people over there who are getting their jollies by bashing my books.. . There’s a small class of Gabaldon fans who are simply rabid. They are not satisfied to love and adore every word she writes, they can’t be happy until they’ve torn down everything ever printed that isn’t hers. And they pursue this goal with single minded glee and giggling.. . .Their lives are so limited and narrow that the best time they can imagine is to sit around and snicker about the Not Diana books. . . .
Ms. Lippi, I have a friend for you to meet. This is Kettle. Kettle, this is Pot. Is it professional, balanced, and respectful to define the fans lives as “limited and narrow” and to refer to their actions as attacking you with “single minded glee and giggling”? Sounds like an ad hominem attack to me. The reader actually stated that Lippi had skill in putting together and painting a decent picture but that reader felt the characters lacked originality. That doesn’t sound like someone who is going around with “single minded glee and giggling” and whose life is just devoted to knocking you down a notch.
My favorite line of all is Ms. Lippi’s claims that she is a better writer than DG.
I am as good a writer as Diana. Sometimes I am better. I will point out to them, if they approach me directly, that I have won major literary prizes. She has spent a lot more time on the best seller list, but then so has Dan Brown.
I haven’t read either authors (listened to DG on tape and know that Maili hates the DG books with a passion) so I guess I’ll just have to take Ms. Lippi’s word for it. After all, she does have those awards. (I googled and found one, but not the multiples which she references). I would guess that would make her a better writer than Nora Roberts, Jennifer Cruise, Loretta Chase, Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Laura Kinsale, Jo Goodman, Diana Norman, Stephen King, Lisa Kleypas, Connie Brockway, Eloisa James, Suzanne Brockmann, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and so on because those authors are not winners of any literary awards that I know of (unless we refer to the Ritas as literary awards, but somehow I don’t think that is the kind of “literary award” to which Lippi refers). Plus, some of them are commercially successful like Dan Brown.
Lippi ends with the statement:
“I suppose I could email authors who have written books that didn’t work for me. I could get in touch with John Updike or Nora Roberts or Jodi Picoult or Stephen King or Toni Morrison and offer them the opportunity to pitch their books to me, but then that would be presumptuous and less than respectful.”
I am not sure what this statement means. I think it means that readers who don’t like an author’s work should just . . . not email the author an offer to pitch their work to the reader?
I hope I helped keep this from blowing all out of proportion like Lippi wanted when she went public with a little known controversy.